Sunday, 15 January 2012

Healthy Sleeping etiquettes from the Sunnah.

Sleep is just as important to maintaining a healthy body and mind as diet and exercise, and just as some diets can be unhealthy, some types of sleep can also be.

The Holy Prophet (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) did not oversleep or deprive his body of necessary sleep, making his method in this regard the most perfect. He used to sleep when sleep is warranted and would lay on his right side and remember Allah in supplication until sleep overwhelmed his eyes. In addition, his body would not be burdened with overeating or overdrinking. He neither slept on the bare floor, or on high beds. Rather, he had mats made of leaves, used to lean on a pillow and would sometimes place his hand under his cheek.

It is accepted by most physicians that a good night's sleep should last anywhere between 4 and 8 hours for those that have reached the age of maturity (baligh). Anything longer than this may be considered excessive.

Al-Fudayl ibn ‘Iyaad (may Allaah have mercy on him) said, “There are two qualities that harden the heart: sleeping too much and eating too much.” Ibn al-Qayyim (rahimullah) also said, “As for the five things that corrupt the heart, they are those that are referred to: mixing excessively with people (so as to gossip and talk a lot), wishful thinking (daydreaming), being attached to anything other than Allah, eating one’s fill, and sleeping a lot.” These five are the greatest corrupters of the heart.

Sleeping too much deadens the heart, makes the body heavy and overweight, makes one lazy in worship and slow in thinking, wastes time, and generates a great deal of carelessness and laziness. Some of it is very Makrooh and some is physically harmful; oversleeping brings no benefit to the body.

At the same time, sleeping too little is also unhealthy as Shaykh Muhammad ibn Ahmad al-Safaareeni (may Allah have mercy on him) said, “It is not right to resist sleep a great deal and stay up late often. Resisting and avoiding sleep will lead to other problems such as bad moods, muddled thinking, and exhaustion that prevents one from understanding and working properly, and it can lead to many fatal illnesses.”

Creation is based on balance and whoever adheres to moderation has achieved all goodness in sha’Allah.

Here in this post I have used the guidance of the Qur’an and Sunnah to collect evidence which highlights the impact of correct and incorrect sleeping etiquettes on mental and physical health.

Better quality sleep.

There are some important points in daily life and prior to sleeping that need to be focused on;

Heavy meals in the evening should be totally avoided, as should drinking caffinated drinks before bed (like tea, coffee, cola etc). The last meal of the day should be a light one and it should be taken at least two hours before sleep.

We should all have a regular sleeping habit. One of the conditions for enjoying quality sleep is to sleep and wake up at the same hours. It is particularly important to have regular sleep on week days. The disruption of this regularity at the weekend is one of the stumbling blocks standing in the way of a quality sleep.

One should lie on the right side. Lying flat on one’s back or lying prone can bring certain problems. Snoring or interruption of respiration only occurs while lying flat on one’s back.

The most suitable position for sleeping is to turning to the right side. A person unconsciously moves and changes position 10 or 15 times during his or her sleep as a result of Allah's Divine Mercy.

Here, one remembers the verses of the Holy Qur’an about the sleeping positions of the “people of the cave” as Allah the Beneficent says,

"We caused them to turn over to the right and the left..." 
(Surah al Kahf 18:18).

Moreover lying on one’s right is also the tradition of Allah's Beloved Messenger (sallallahu alayhi wasallam).

Conducting Wudhu (ablution) before sleeping.

Doing Wudhu (ablution) before going to sleep is one of the things which is highly recommended.

A hadith was narrated to this effect, in which the Holy Prophet (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) said, “When you go to bed, do Wudhu’ as for prayer.” (Narrated in al-Bukhari, 247; and in Muslim 2710).

Ibn Hajar said, “The apparent meaning is that it is recommended for everyone who wants to go to sleep to renew his Wudhu, even if he already has Wudhu. It may be interpreted as applying only to the one who has broken his Wudhu.”

The supplication which Rasool'Allah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) taught us to recite;

Al-Bara 'bin 'Azib (radhi Allahu anhu) narrated that the Prophet (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) said to me, "Whenever you go to bed perform ablution like that for the prayer, lie or your right side and say, "Allahumma aslamtu wajhi ilaika, wa fauwadtu amri ilaika, wa alja'tu Zahri ilaika raghbatan wa rahbatan ilaika. La Malja' wa la manja minka illa ilaika. Allahumma amantu bikitabika-l-ladhi anzalta wa bina-biyika-l ladhi arsalta" (O Allah! I surrender to You and entrust all my affairs to You and depend upon You for Your Blessings both with hope and fear of You. There is no fleeing from You, and there is no place of protection and safety except with You O Allah! I believe in Your Book (the Qur'an) which You have revealed and in Your Prophet (Muhammad) whom You have sent). Then if you die on that very night, you will die with faith (i.e. or the religion of Islam). Let the aforesaid words be your last utterance (before sleep)." I repeated it before the Prophet and when I reached "Allahumma amantu bikitabika-l-ladhi anzalta (O Allah I believe in Your Book which You have revealed)." I said, "Wa-rasulika (and your Apostle)." The Prophet said, "No, (but say): 'Wanabiyika-l-ladhi arsalta (Your Prophet whom You have sent), instead."
Sahih Al Bukhari Volume 1, Book 4, Number 247

Al-Nawawi said, “If a person has Wudhu, that is sufficient for him, because the point is to go to sleep having Wudhu, lest he die in his sleep, and so that his dreams will be more true, and so that the shaytaan will be less likely to play with his dreams and terrify him.”

Best times of the day or night to sleep.

According to Ibn Qayyim (rahimullah), the closer sleep is to either the very beginning or the end of the day, the less beneficial it is and the more harmful, especially sleeping between As'r and Maghrib, and sleeping at the very beginning of the day (before the sunrise), except in the case of one who has stayed up late and is overwhelmed with sleep.

The best and most beneficial times of the night to sleep is during the first half of the night (immediately after Ishaa) and this is the best sleep according to experienced Hakeems. In their view, anything more or less than that will have a proportionately detrimental effect on the body.

A kind of sleep that is of no benefit is sleeping straight after sunset, until the twilight has disappeared (Maghrib). The Messenger of Allah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) disliked sleeping at this time, therefore it is considered makrooh according to Shari’ah and is naturally disliked.

Some of the Salaf (Companions of the Holy Prophet) disliked sleeping after the Faj’r prayer.

The practice of the Blessed Messenger of Allah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) and his Companions after praying Faj’r (the time between early dawn and sunrise) was to remain sitting in the place where they had prayed until the sun rose, as is reported in Sahih Muslim (1/463) in the hadith of Sammaak ibn Harb, who said, “I asked Jaabir ibn Samurah, ‘Did you used to sit with the Messenger of Allah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam)?’ He said, ‘Yes, frequently. He would not get up from the place where he had prayed until the sun rose. When the sun rose, he (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) would get up. They used to talk about things that had happened during the Jaahiliyyah, and they would laugh and smile.’”

As far as a person’s sleeping after praying Faj’r is concerned, no text (from either the Qur’an or hadith) has been reported to indicate that this is prohibited, so the general principle applies (i.e., everything is permitted except that which has been expressly forbidden).

It is important to note however, that the Holy Prophet (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) asked his Lord to bless his Ummah in the mornings, as is reported in the hadith of Sakhr al-Ghaamidi, who said, “The Messenger of Allah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) said, “O Allah, bless my Ummah in the mornings.’ Whenever he sent out troops or an army, he would send them at the beginning of the day.’” Sakhr was a trader, and he used to send out his caravans at the beginning of the day, and he did very well as a result and made money.” (Reported by Abu Dawood, al-Tirmidhi and Ibn Maajah, with an isnaad in which there is some jahaalah (i.e., one narrator is unknown); corroborating evidence is to be found in a hadith narrated by ‘Ali, Ibn ‘Umar, Ibn ‘Abbaas, Ibn Mas’ood and others, may Allaah be pleased with them all.)

For this reason some of the Salaf disliked the idea of sleeping after Fajr. Ibn Abi Shaybah reported in his Musannaf (5/222, no. 25442) with a saheeh isnaad from ‘Urwah ibn al-Zubayr that he said: “Al-Zubayr used to forbid his children to sleep in the morning.” ‘Urwah said: “I do not hear of any man who sleeps in the morning, but I lose interest in that person.”

In summary then, people should make the most of this time which can bring many benefits and blessings in this world and in the Hereafter, but if a person sleeps at this time to gain strength to do his work, there is nothing wrong with this, especially if it is not easy for him to sleep at any other time of the day.

Ibn Abi Shaybah reported in his Musannaf (5/223, no. 25454) from the hadith of Abu Yazeed al-Madeeni who said, “Umar came to Suhayb one morning and found him sleeping, so he sat down until he woke up. Suhayb said, ‘The Ameer al-Mu’mineen is sitting in his place and Suhayb is sleeping!’ ‘Umar said to him, ‘I did not like to disturb your sleep that could be beneficial for you.’”

What to recite before sleep.

The best things to recite before sleeping are Ayat ul Kursi and the following three Surah’s of the Holy Qur’an three times each;

Surah Al-Ikhlaas (112)

In the name of Allah, the Beneficent, the Merciful

Say: He is Allah, the One!
Allah, the eternally Besought of all!
He begetteth not nor was He begotten.
And there is none comparable unto Him.

Surah Al-Falaq (113)

In the name of Allah, the Beneficent, the Merciful

Say: I seek refuge in the Lord of the Daybreak.
From the evil of that which He created;
From the evil of the darkness when it is intense.
And from the evil of malignant witchcraft.
And from the evil of the envier when he envies.

Surah An-Naas (114)

In the name of Allah, the Beneficent, the Merciful

Say: I seek refuge in the Lord of mankind.
The King of mankind.
The God of mankind.
From the evil of the sneaking whisperer.
Who whispers in the hearts of mankind.
Of the jinn and of mankind.

Then blow into cupped hands, thereafter wiping on the body three times, starting at the front of the body with the head as reported in Al Bukhari;

The other very effective prayer formula is Ayat ul Kursi;

Ayat ul Kursi (from Surah Al-Baqarah, Ayah 255)

In the name of Allah, the Beneficent, the Merciful

Allah! There is no God save Him, the Alive, the Eternal.
Neither slumber nor sleep overtake Him.
Unto Him belong whatsoever is in the Heavens and whatsoever is in the Earth.
Who is he that can intercede with Him save by His leave?
He knows that which is in front of them and that which is behind them, while they encompass nothing of His knowledge save what He wills.
His Throne includes the heavens and the earth, and He is never weary of preserving them.
He is the Sublime, the Tremendous.


It was narrated by Abu Said Al-Khudri (radhi Allahu anhu) that the Prophet (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) said, "If while you are praying, somebody intends to pass in front of you, prevent him; and should he insist, prevent him again; and if he insists again, fight with him (i.e. prevent him violently e.g. pushing him violently), because such a person is (like) a devil." Narrated Muhammad bin Sirin: Abu Huraira said, "Allah's Apostle put me in charge of the Zakat of Ramadan (i.e. Zakat-ul-Fitr). Someone came to me and started scooping some of the foodstuff of (Zakat) with both hands. I caught him and told him that I would take him to Allah's Apostle." Then Abu Huraira told the whole narration and added "He (i.e. the thief) said, 'Whenever you go to your bed, recite the Verse of "Al-kursi" (2.255) for then a guardian from Allah will be guarding you, and Satan will not approach you till dawn.' " On that the Prophet said, "He told you the truth, though he is a liar, and he (the thief) himself was the Satan."
Sahih Al Bukhari Volume 4, Book 54, Number 495

Keeping the Awrah covered.

It is not recommended to sleep naked, even when sleeping in the same bed as one’s spouse or if the whole body is coved by a blanket.

According to the Islamic Scholars, the Awrah must be covered in all circumstances except when it is necessary to uncover it, such as when bathing, having marital relations, relieving oneself, etc. But when there is no reason, the awrah must remain covered, even for young babies and the elderly, because of the report narrated by Bahz ibn Hakeem from his father, from his grandfather, who said: “O Messenger of Allah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam), what should we do about our awrahs?” He said, “Guard your awrah except from your wives and those whom your right hand possesses (concubines).” He asked, “What about when a man is with another man?” He said, “If you can manage not to let anyone see it, then do that.” He asked, “What if one of us is alone?’ He said, “Allah is more deserving that you should feel shy before Him.” (Narrated by al-Tirmidhi, 2769, and Ibn Majah, graded as Hasan by Darussalam).

Based on the above, it is not permissible for Muslims to sleep with no clothes on that would cover their awrahs, whether they are sleeping with or without their spouses. This is particularly true for ladies.

It is Sunnah to dust off the bed before sleeping.

It is highly recommended to dust down the bed before lying down on it. It can be dusted down with the edge of one’s garment, or with something else, like a small towel or piece of cloth.

Al-Bukhari (6320) and Muslim (2714) narrated that Abu Hurayrah (radhi Allahu anhu) said, “The Holy Prophet (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) said, “When one of you goes to his bed, let him dust off his bed with the inside of his lower garment, for he does not know what came onto it after he left it. Then let him say ‘Bismika Rabbee wada’tu janbi wa bika arfa’uhu wa in amsakta nafsi farhamhaa wa in arsaltahaa fahfazhaa bimaa tuhfaz bihi ‘ibaadika al-saaliheen’ (In Your name, my Lord, I lie down, and in Your name I rise. If You should take my soul then have mercy on it, and if You should return my soul then protect it as You protect Your righteous slaves).”

Al-Nawawi (may Allaah have mercy on him) said in Sharh Muslim, “The ‘inside of his lower garment’ means its edge. What is meant is that it is recommended to dust down his bed before lying on it, lest there be a snake, spider or scorpion or other harmful thing on it. And he should dust it down with his hand covered by the edge of his lower garment, lest something bad happen to his hand if there is anything there.”

Never sleep on the stomach.

The Holy Prophet (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) expressly forbade people from sleeping on their stomachs as it is the same way in which the dwellers of Hellfire will lie.

Ya’eesh ibn Tihfah al-Ghifaari reported that his father said, “I stayed as a guest with the Messenger of Allah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) with those of the poor of whom he hosted. The Messenger of Allah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) came out in the night to check up on his guests, and saw me lying on my stomach. He prodded me with his foot and said, ‘Do not lie in this manner, for it is a way of lying that Allah hates.’” According to another report, the Prophet (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) prodded him with his foot and woke him up, and said, “Do not lie like this, for this is how the people of Hell lie.” (Reported by Ahmad, al-Fath al-Rabbaani, 14/244-245; by al-Tirmidhi, no. 2798, Shaakir edn.; and by Abu Dawood, al-Sunan, Kitaab al-Adab, no. 5040, al-Da’aas edn. Also reported in Sahih al-Jaami’, 2270-2271).

It is also advised never to put babies and toddlers to sleep on their stomachs. Regardless of what conventional western medicine mentions on the topic, this method of sleeping increases the risk of cot death and childhood allergies.

The Beloved Messenger of Allah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) left no good thing but he told us about it and left no evil thing but he warned us against it.


  1. Dear Brothers and Sisters, please read with a humble and open heart.

    بِسْمِ اللَّـهِ الرَّحْمَـٰنِ الرَّحِيمِ
    (In the Name of Allah, The Most Gracious, The Most Merciful)

    ‘Holy Quran’ and ‘Holy Prophet’ in Islam

    In Christianity, there are terms such as Holy Father, Holy Son, Holy Spirit or Holy Ghost and Holy Bible. Muslims do not have anything in Islam called as The Holy Quran and The Holy Prophet. Yet, the term Holy Quran and Holy Prophet is commonly and widely used. We have to use the right words to describe The Quran and Prophet Muhammad SAW according to The Quran itself and Hadith.
    Earlier in The Glorious Quran, Allah SWT says:
    The month of Ramadan in which was revealed the Quran, a guidance for mankind and clear proofs for the guidance and the criterion (between right and wrong). [Al-Quran 2:185]

    ‘Holy’ in Arabic means ‘muqaddas’ (مقدس). There is no verse in The Noble Quran or in Hadith that says ‘Al-Quranum-Muqaddas’ (The Holy Quran) and ‘Ar-Rasulan-Nabiyyam-Muqaddas’ (The Messenger, The Holy Prophet). Allah SWT shortly describes The Quran as:
    ‘Quranun-Karim’ (Noble Quran) [Al-Quran 56:77]
    ‘Al-Quranil-Majid’ (The Glorious Quran) [Al-Quran 50:1]
    ‘Al-Qurani-zi-Zikr’ (The Quran Full of Reminder) [Al-Quran 38:1]
    ‘Quranun-Mubin’ (Clear Quran) [Al-Quran 36:69]
    ‘Al-Quranil-Hakim’ (The Wise Quran) [Al-Quran 36:2]
    ‘Al-Quranal-‘Adzim’ (The Great Quran) [Al-Quran 15:87]

    Surah (Chapter) 47, titled Muhammad, second verse is translated as:
    And those who believe and do righteous deeds and believe in what has been sent down upon Muhammad - and it is the truth from their Lord - He will remove from them their misdeeds and amend their condition. [Al-Quran 47:2]

    Short description of Prophet Muhammad SAW in The Noble Quran:
    ‘Ar-Rasulan-Nabiyyal-Umiyya’ (The Messenger, The Unlettered Prophet) [Al-Quran 7:157]
    ‘Khataman-Nabiyyina’ (Seal of The Prophets) [Al-Quran 33:40]
    ‘Ahmad’ (Highly Praised) [Al-Quran 61:6]
    ‘hakim’ (Judge) [Al-Quran 4:65, 24:51]
    ‘rasulin-karim’ (Noble Messenger) [Al-Quran 69:40]
    ‘raufur-rahim’ (Kind and Merciful) [Al-Quran 9:128]
    ‘Muhammadur-Rasulullah’ (Muhammad, The Messenger of Allah) [Al-Quran 48:29]
    ‘Abdullah’ (Slave of Allah) [Al-Quran 72:19]
    ‘muzakkirun’ (Reminder) [Al-Quran 88:21]
    ‘sirajan-muniran’ (Illuminating Lamp) [Al-Quran 33:46]
    ‘nazirun-mubin’ (Clear Warner) [Al-Quran 7:184]
    ‘basharun’ (Man) [Al-Quran 18:110]
    ‘rahmatal-lil’alamin’ (Mercy for all the worlds) [Al-Quran 21:107]
    ‘shahidan wa mubashiran wa naziran’ (Witness, Bearer of Glad Tidings and Warner) [Al-Quran 33:45]
    ‘nurun’ (Light) [Al-Quran 5:15]
    ‘burhanun’ (Convincing Proof) [Al-Quran 4:174]
    ‘uswatun hasanatun’ (Good Example) [Al-Quran 33:21]

    So if someone ask what is the holy book of a Muslim? Say it is The Noble Quran. This makes Al-Quran stands up in its own position. We do not have the authority to name it, call it or give it the title 'The Holy Quran' since Allah SWT and Prophet Muhammad SAW never used that term either.

    Please share with fellow Brothers and Sisters. May Allah SWT grant us understanding and guide us all. Amin Ya Rabbal ‘Alamin.

    Wallahu ‘Alam (Allah SWT Knows Best)

    1. Jazak'Allahu Khair Al-Mulk for your comment as Qur'anic Ruqyah is just as important for healing as a good diet.


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